In an article by Josh Barro on Slate, he writes the following, referring to a 2010 video of Phil Robertson:
In one America, it’s OK to say this of gays and lesbians: “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.” In the other America, you’re not supposed to say that.
The problem is, Phil didn’t say that of gays and lesbians. In reality, Phil was more or less quoting from the first chapter of the book of Romans (a book of the Bible) and the “they” in that passage doesn’t refer to gays and lesbians; it refers to humanity in general.
You see, Paul, the author of the book of Romans had gospel (“good news”) to proclaim: that people could have righteousness as a gift from God, a righteousness that was entirely by faith, for “everyone who believes” (verse 16). But, you might ask, why do we need this righteousness from God? Why? Because we are not righteous ourselves and are under God’s wrath. To make this clear, Paul shows just how unrighteous humanity is. He says they suppressed their knowledge of God and didn’t honor God as God. Instead of worshipping the Creator, they worshipped God’s creatures, His creations. They practised sexual immorality. And, “since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”
That last bit is the part Phil was quoting. It pertains to us all. In fact, Paul picks this up again in the third chapter, telling us we are all “under sin”, and that (quoting the Old Testament) “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (verses 10-12). This isn’t a “hey, I’m better than you all” message. This is a “we’re all in big trouble, Jack!” message.
This doesn’t sound like very good news. I mean, Paul’s telling us we’ve greatly offended the Creator of the Universe and he’s ready to pour out his wrath on us for it. How’s that good news? Well, just as a miracle cure is only good news to those who are sick, a solution to the problem of our wickedness is only good news if we first see our wickedness. So Paul shows us that first. Now, he shows us the solution: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested [made visible]… —the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation [a sacrifice] by his blood, to be received by faith” (Chapter 3, verses 21-25). Yes, we’ve all fallen short of God’s perfection and sinned against God, but everyone who believes, who entrusts themselves to Jesus, will be counted as being righteous like God. Pure as the new fallen snow. God credits us with being just as a gracious gift, a gift purchased by Jesus’ blood, a gift we receive by simply trusting that God will give it to us when all we do is hold out our empty hands.
That, folks, is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, in a nutshell. Phil was actually relaying the same message from God that Paul had shared centuries ago: we humans are a wicked lot. How, then, can we escape God’s wrath on the day of judgement? Only through faith in Jesus Christ. Turn your back on your wicked ways and cry out to Jesus to deliver you and he surely will!